2023 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup | Team India look to avoid worst finish ever, face Japan in 9th-16th classification match

2023 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup | Team India look to avoid worst finish ever, face Japan in 9th-16th classification match

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After a disappointing loss to New Zealand in the crossovers recently, Team India is out of the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup, but their campaign could turn out to be a lot more disastrous. India faces the risk of their worst performance in the tournament ever if they lose their match to Japan.

India will play the 9th-16th classification match against Japan on the 26th, and a loss there would mean, they would have to appear for the 13th-16th classification match on Saturday against a yet-to-be-decided opponent.

Meanwhile, India’s worst-ever placing and finish in the 14 previous editions of the World Cup is 12th and last — in London in 1986. Although India does not face the risk of ending last in the tournament, they could well have their worst World Cup performance, if they lose to Japan.

After an ordinary campaign, India will have to play their best hockey against Japan in the classification match, though the reigning Asian Games champions too have had an ordinary World Cup here. On the other hand, Japan finished last in their group too, losing all their games.

Although there is a big gap between the two sides, Japan cannot be taken lightly, as they had beaten a full-strength Indian side in the Asian Champions Trophy semifinal in December 2021 after losing 0-6 in the preliminary round. Historically, India have dominated Japan with 26 wins in 32 matches since 1932. Japan have won just thrice, with three matches ending in draws.

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